Poetry by Michael Igoe: Chaser & In Garnet Light

photo from pixabay

Chaser

Much too busy                                                                                                                                                   in the searching                                                                                                                                               for new kinds                                                                                                                                                    of bloodsport.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I can’t help but think,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   everything's the same.                                                                                                                                            In exponential panics                                                                                                                           owning to indifference.                                                                                                                                      But who is the mystery guest,                                                                                                                                   traveling on the mystery train.                                                                                                                                     He’s a long distance runner                                                                                                                                                                                                       in dismay while he fox hunts.                                                                                                                               Deep  in the vacant park,                                                                                                                    he lays down on asphalt                                                                                                                                                       he feels its gentle current.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      We recognized his many faces                                                                                                                           as the parts of a physical form.                                                                                                              If it happened otherwise                                                                                                                                      we couldn’t know them.

In Garnet Light

If it's garnet light                                                                                                                                                     we’ll be as lucid                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    as we’re tranquil.                                                                                                                                            Like the real name                                                                                                                                                           of our favorite sea                                                                                                                                                      on  moon’s surface.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Through the hole in the roof,                                                                                                                                                   stars gleam by the thousands                                                                                                                                           like the steel on an ax handle.                                                                                                                                                           Feeling bumped from                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         ever ready cat's paws.                                                                                                                                    Now the diesel howls,                                                                                                                                    demands are known                                                                                                                    for all of its payloads                                                                                                                                           So where were we,                                                                                                                                                                        here with the saint                                                                                                                                 You need to tell Joey,                                                                                                                                                    he's the younger man.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         He just left from church,                                                                                                                                                  one where his head hides                                                                                                                                                 behind the softest stones.                                                                                                                                               It’s the Angel Gabriel                                                                                                                                            he takes as a moniker                                                                                                                                                         the beautiful monster                                                                                                                                          I  will always rely on.                                                                                                                                              The kids at church                                                                                                                                             seem to feel sorry.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    “I am really sorry God,                                                                                                                                                                         for whatever I’ve done.”                                                                                                                                God tries to understand.      

 

Bio: Michael Igoe, neurodiverse city boy, Chicago now Boston, recovery staff at Boston University Center For Psych Rehab. Many works appear in journals online and print. Recent: Spare Change News(Cambridge MA), thebluenib.com, minerallit.com. Avalanches In Poetry Anthology@amazon.com. National Library Of Poetry Editor's Choice For 1997. Twitter: MichaelIgoe5. poetryinmotion416254859.wordpress.com. Urban Realism, Surrealism. I like the Night.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

Last Frontier by Michael Igoe (Prose stories) Last Frontier

Last Frontier

Franklin Street skitters, unpaved,down past doorways,mostly of saloons. It angles off the business district down to piers and landings.. Then disappears later on the inlet. In mud flats, stretches no one can travel.Every bar has its moonglow; some are strictly Indian, others White. Northern Lights, Red Dog, The Arctic Tap. In November, the freezing rain splashes outside. Rain, all the time.                                                                                                                                                                      Juneau was built on the wrong side of a mountain range.                                                                                                           Hard by the sea, 30 miles of roads connect Juneau. But they’re going nowhere. You need to take a ferry to the Alcan Highway to leave. When you’re ready to leave, that is.                                                                                                                                        Everyday I took my aimless hikes. By tumbledown shacks to the outskirts of town.                                                                          Alone, I passed by Indians. They nodded, or glared. No one here feels morose about rainfall. Because by late September, it’ll all be snowflakes. At times, hail in big pellets. It stays like that till May.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I buy beer and cigarettes in The Arctic. I’m known there by recognition if not by name. Bartender Gus wheels around the floor to his cashbox. Dime pinups and snapshots festoon his mirror.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          He asks daily if I’ve found work. I tell him no. I decided a while back not to tell him that I’m not looking.But I don’t mind talking. Sooner or later, I cut off his blue stream of words.                                                                                                                                                                      I’m not someone who says exactly what they think.                                                                                                                                And who is Gus? A haggard Swede in a T-shirt, combat veteran of the Marshall Islands. We spoke the first day I got here. He gave pointers, tips and advice. Ins and outs of Juneau Alaska.  I listened dully, but with due respect.                                                                                                                                                            What my intentions were- that probably crossed his mind. They have changed each day since leaving Seattle. I came here to bust out; make a break:escape.But I never meant to settle down. What I meant was to return to Monica if I could.  Or hope she’d come to me.                                                                         This one intention I didn't want to sell short.                                                                                                                                    When I first got here, the days were growing longer into perpetual night.. I had about 6 months pay in my pocket from a loading dock at the Pike Street Market. In Seattle, where I met Monica. At first glance, she seemed benevolent and wise. Possessed of wisdom that comes from world weary. But she has gaps, fissures you’ll soon discover. She claims to know what’s on your mind- since she has psychic power, and is linked to the supernatural. She claims to know the difference between the things you say and what you’re really thinking.                                                                                                                                                           As for myself, I am a creature of habit. I smoke, drink, and eat red meat. I wake up in the morning and drift to sleep each night.                                                                                                                                                                                                    It was too early to strike out for the Arctic. Last night, I took notice of a blue tattoo scripted on one of Gus’s forearms. Just one word: Sherry.  Never seen that before.                                                                            Tenants liked to socialize in the lobby at the Scandinavian Hotel.  They sipped booze while they played complex chess games.                                                                                                                      I got a room here when I first landed off a ship from Seattle. It was run by a large family of Tlinglit Indians, who really had no clue about English.The oldest daughter took the lead, walking back and forth through a blanket. She spoke broken English though broken teeth.  A voice both lilting and guttural. I learned not to ask this smooth faced girl too many questions. She didn’t know how to answer them. She would laugh and shrug, then wave me off with one arm.                                                                                                                                                                                  The blanket in the doorway was a mottled gray.. It separated the living quarters from the lobby. Every week, I tapped the bell at the bell desk(they did have a bell desk). Money exchanged hands; that’s about it..Smells from cooking. Smoke filled the lobby three times daily.                                                                                                              A portrait of George Washington(you know the one!)hangs on a far wall.
At that moment none of the crowd was in the lobby. I cracked open the quart top and fiddled around with the radio.                                                                                                                                                                                  Why'd I ever get mixed up with Monica? Like, even in the first place? I didn’t like to feel a waning desire. Hers, or mine.And what about all those halfasses back home. Whatever were they after?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Swiveling  around, I took a look at George Washington again. Just to make sure he was still in his frame.                                                                                                                                                                     A rust colored pickup pulled up across the street. Charles was here, one of the lobby regulars. A gimp-legged little guy with a bushy beard. He didn’t stay at the old hotel, but he knew one and all. He wasn’t an Alaskan, another out of state type like me. Charles was from Northern Cal, he wound up in Juneau after weed got legal.  He was a well established ton dealer. They said he had a lot of money. But he dressed like he was down and out.                                                                                    He sat across from me and started to set up his chessboard. Without looking up, he asked, “How’s it going?” I said, “ It’s going.” He finally narrowed his eyes with curiosity. “You know if the old lady catches you with that open bottle, this time she ‘s gonna evict you.”                                                                   I didn’t respond. One of his legs took a jump. He’d messed them up in a car crash.                                                                  
“Are you playing, or no?” He sighed and pushed out the queen’s pawn. After several moves he began bad mouthing Kimbro. An Indian guy upstairs.. One of his small-time customers. He’d seen Kimbro cuffed and whisked out from one of the bars by the State Police. The charge, said Chasrles, was grave robbery. Mutilation of a corpse.  This made sense to me. Kimbro always seemed despondent. He was from a Tlinglit village far in the interior.                                                                           Juneau must be The Big City.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Charles toyed with his white bishop. “Keep your distance from him. He’s no damn good.” “Thanks for the information”, I told him, and resigned from the chess game. I capped the bottle and went upstairs. Opening my room, I noticed the orange coil glow on the hotplate. I’d left it on again.  I lay down in the dark.                                                                                                                                                           I tried not to think about Monica. What a dangerous person. How much did I know about her anyway? If I knew more, I was sure I’d love her less. Drifting to sleep in the afternoon, I thought I heard her talking. “ Your misfit , pissant devils lay in wait. But soon mine will show up.” Then she asked me if I paid rent here, and how. I became confused and mumbled about the light bill.                          
 I woke up startled and knew for certain. I’d clear out of Juneau soon. This hokum about getting her to join me won’t work. I’d get my old job at the Pike Street Market.                                                              
 I didn't feel a thing. It was dark, but that meant nothing at all. Could be night or day. The gas lamps on the piers glittered.                                                                                                                                             I was not quite young in life and had done nothing to speak of. I thought about Kimbro down the hall, with his found collection of rings and neckties taken from coffins.                                                            I had a laugh and turned back to my sleep.


Bio: Michael Igoe, neurodiverse city boy, Chicago now Boston, recovery staff at Boston University Center For Psych Rehab. Many works appear in journals online and print. Recent: Spare Change News(Cambridge MA), thebluenib.com, minerallit.com. Avalanches In Poetry Anthology@amazon.com. National Library Of Poetry Editor's Choice For 1997. Twitter: MichaelIgoe5. poetryinmotion416254859.wordpress.com. Urban Realism, Surrealism. I like the Night.

New Poetry from Michael Igoe

Mother’s Material

All things dwindle fast,                                                                                                                                                    on left handed Sundays.                                                                                                                                  But with new vistas                                                                                                                                                         they hit the heights                                                                                                                                   directly on course                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           quieted by leaves.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      More arduous                                                                                                                                                    the encounter                                                                                                                                           more charged                                                                                                                                                    is the silence.                                                                                                                                                                                                              She met with a king,                                                                                                                                    and brand iron rulers.                                                                                                                                 With almost no hints,                                                                                                                                                      without a suggestion.                                                                                                                                    There’s no lip service                                                                                                                             in freedom of speech,                                                                                                                                        you speak your piece.                                                                                                                                                            She made her plans                                                                                                                                        to fill up long lines                                                                                                                                     with stuff of illness.                                                                                                                                          World weary every day,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    dealing out pantomimes.      

 Bad Apples        
       
Getting stuck in the teeth                                                                                                                   before each performance.                                                                                                                              They will fight this war                                                                                                                                    during the Age of Mud.                                                                                                                       It makes you wretch                                                                                                                                            with eyes that shine.                                                                                                                                The machine won’t give                                                                                                                                    any more amorous signs.                                                                                                                                              As for rapture,                                                                                                                                             and as for pain                                                                                                                                                    as far as coma                                                                                                                                       and for moods.                                                                                                                                     Finally a revival,                                                                                                                                             by ice-like games,                                                                                                                                          from daft opinions.                                                                                                                            Recorded by the brain                                                                                                                             are the dying concerns                                                                                                                               about consuming meat.                                                                                                                                 We’re on our way                                                                                                                                             to the meek forest.                                                                                                                                       With an audience                                                                                                                                                    for your last book.                                                                                                                                The Rape of the Lock                                                                                                                               is the only one I need.      

Exhumation Games         

If the lotus                                                                                                                                          came to be                                                                                                                                                     I can’t tell                                                                                                                                                 even if I try.                                                                                                                                                  It finds its place                                                                                                                                                                 in fields of mud                                                                                                                                             in boot imprints.                                                                                                                                                     We figure out,                                                                                                                                                 a watery grave                                                                                                                                       someday withers.                                                                                                                                                             We’re called upon                                                                                                                                                                                                     to burn our houses                                                                                                                                      houses in surrender                                                                                                                                                 to the three degrees.                                                                                                                                                                                                Taking good stock                                                                                                                                                             of a rigged chance                                                                                                                                                                         refresh the mouth                                                                                                                                                with a taste of zinc.                                                                                                                                                             Lure the willing                                                                                                                                                                    those most able,                                                                                                                                                         easy to convince                                                                                                                                                                    to begin revving                                                                                                                                                  their twin engine.                                                                                                                                                                                                              Coaxing them back                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             into their lean years.                                                                                                                                                               These antics entitle them                                                                                                                                       to know if they’ll drown.              

Copper Harbor

As to any decisions                                                                                                                                        there’s no real hope.                                                                                                                                                        In a merciless world                                                                                                                                  revolving around us.                                                                                                                                         Working on this one                                                                                                                                   continuing to seethe                                                                                                                                        will satisfy pretense.                                                                                                                                                The beauty of the domes                                                                                                                                                   is in the beauty of words                                                                                                                                     chosen to describe them.                                                                                                                     Words lead to severance                                                                                                                                   leading on to governance.                                                                                                                                    Here are the cold hills,                                                                                                                                      serving as boundaries.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   On slow float lakes                                                                                                                                                         of wine and honey,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                the uninvited guest                                                                                                                                                           will reach the peak.                                                                                                                                                      Emerges seldom,                                                                                                                                             remains present

Bio: Michael Igoe, neurodiverse city boy, Chicago now Boston, recovery staff at Boston University Center For Psych Rehab. Many works appear in journals online and print. Recent: Spare Change News(Cambridge MA), thebluenib.com, minerallit.com. Avalanches In Poetry Anthology@amazon.com. National Library Of Poetry Editor's Choice For 1997. Twitter: MichaelIgoe5. poetryinmotion416254859.wordpress.com. Urban Realism, Surrealism. I like the Night.
                                                                                                                                  

May Poetry Showcase from Michael Igoe

Pitchman’s Breeze

Once the pitchman                                                                                                                                                          felt full awakened                                                                                                                                                                   he felt the dread                                                                                                                                           of resurrection                                                                                                                                                                     as a shepherd .                                                                                                                                                                 Milky blue lunches                                                                                                                                            at  bottoms of bags                                                                                                                                                          in curlicues of snow.                                                                                                                  Scraps of leather,                                                                                                                                       in tarnished vats                                                                                                                         seem to wind up                                                                                                                                     soles of his shoes.                                                                                                                          But plaguing him most                                                                                                                                      was he could have sold                                                                                                                                  though yes he did sell,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      electric barbed wire                                                                                                                                                                   by the dozen yards.                                                                                                                                               Without an inkling,                                                                                                                                       of whoever he was                                                                                                                                               looking forward,                                                                                                                                                      scouring the sky                                                                                                                                        blue eyes fading..                                                                                                                                                                                  The face of a man                                                                                                                                as a rhesus monkey;                                                                                                                                      so timid and curious                                                                                                                                                      he tugs on my sleeve.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         For my own protection                                                                                                                                                    to become walled off                                                                                                                                  I find myself walking                                                                                                                                                  across the sodden field.                                                                                                                                 More what I wanted,                                                                                                                         anything of promise.                                                                                                                                        Cleansing of the gut,                                                                                                                                           is a panicked appeal                                                                                                                                          for change of habitat                                                                                                                                        to one that’s weakest.                                                                                                                                      Likewise I am stripped,                                                                                                                                 to jump in the fountain.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I’m feeling even wiser,                                                                                                                                              when I haven’t spoken.          

Rules For Psychiatric Incarceration

I like pressing a brown bottle,                                                                                                                                      next to these swollen temples.                                                                                                                                            There is wisdom's seat                                                                                                                          where forgiveness rests.                                                                                                                            In a place no one litters                                                                                                                                  everyone’s like savages,                                                                                                                                                   perpetually arm in arm.                                                                                                                         Nitwits out of boxes,                                                                                                                                  freed from love nests.                                                                                                                                   When you’re younger,                                                                                                                                           they’ll work you over.                                                                                                                                                    You’re worth your salt                                                                                                                                                          if you keep your head                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              (II)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   When you’re older,                                                                                                                                                  it’s like a big deal                                                                                                                                                     an immediate rule                                                                                                                                        to contract scurvy.                                                                                                                                              Staying that way,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      there’s no reason                                                                                                                                   for sex anymore.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Where forests are dull                                                                                                                        compared to factories,                                                                                                                                                   the steel locked doors,                                                                                                                                                 chattering of the teeth.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Teeth are the sole possession                                                                                                                                 against a television’s hygiene.                                                                                                                     Depending on                                                                                                                                           who hoodwinks.                                                                                                                                        I will not wear outfits                                                                                                                                                     that they issued to me.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         I might convince them                                                                                                                                                              to hand over the prize                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  the set of master keys.                                                                                                                                                    But in the meantime                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  wish for forgiveness.    

Something the Blue Teenager Sold You      
previously published in Dream Noir Magazine

Something the blue teenager sold you
left you high and dry, priceless, alone
with memories of evil meals
and your handcrafted tattoo.
A thing that amounts to ceaseless rain,
by sleight of hand,
the blue teenager sold you something:
a cause for wonder, a good luck charm,
as you loitered in the hall,
pursued your own thunder,
behind whitewashed walls. All the while,
your mouth brays about a daily routine,
scores long settled, matters finished,
the best part of a tired disguise.
You’ve said very little, since you think
every area is the same as mine,
the lush park expanse, the neon pizza sign.
I gauge your walk, you march behind me,
it’s a pacer’s gait, learned many years ago.
Something the blue teenager sold you
in an ever lovin’ silent night
a music from breathing in sighs.
Your wick still burns,
your flame tells me,
you wrote those books
to feed the Machine.
Merciless, you’re entombed,
in a waking fate,
at length you weep.
He put a crease in your head,
sold you all you ever knew,
in the way of destiny,
a pair of sticks crossed
glowing on the exit door,
an aggravation; what’s more,
what the dial light says
illumined and green
shadowy light, last dialing
of an unknown number
you found on the wall.   

Why  I Stay the Same                     
previously published in Hair Trigger Magazine of Columbia College Chicago

An opening to the head                                                                                                                                                                             prefigures a right hand.                                                                                                                                                                    Following up with a jab                                                                                                                                                                         looking at open wounds.                                                                                                                                                                               Start with a fatal blow,                                                                                                                                                                                                to take things further.                                                                                                                                                                                                      Dawns’ light in the cell                                                                                                                                                                     the answer to intrigue,                                                                                                                                                                                   to all known business.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I’ve spent ink in oceans                                                                                                                                                                                                         trying to explicate this.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Since success rests                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      on a hand and wrist                                                                                                                                                                                    and not much more.                                                                                                                                                                                            I won’t weep longer,                                                                                                                                                                                                                    but I’m sure I’m late                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 meeting at the station.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               I fear the stationmaster more                                                                                                                                                                                            than I fear my sense of stasis.                                                                                                                                                                                         It galls me to think                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  alcohol explains                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        why I stay the same.                                                                                                                                                                                                                 You put it in brown jugs,                                                                                                                                                                                             it lessens tidal flowage                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    guarantees better days.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    it keeps the upper hand.                                                                                                                                                                        I spent  much more time                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    older man than younger ,                                                                                                                                                                                       hanging onto a low hand.                                                                                                                                                                                                   That’s why I moved in swarms                                                                                                                                                                                           when I decided to move at all.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I’m sure of my status                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             it’s my code of nature                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      like a breeze in grass.        


Bio: Michael Igoe, neurodiverse city boy, Chicago now Boston, recovery staff at Boston University Center For Psych Rehab. Many works appear in journals online and print. Recent: Spare Change News(Cambridge MA), thebluenib.com, minerallit.com. Avalanches In Poetry Anthology@amazon.com. National Library Of Poetry Editor's Choice For 1997. Twitter: MichaelIgoe5. poetryinmotion416254859.wordpress.com. Urban Realism, Surrealism. I like the Night.
                                                                                                                                             
                                                                               

2 new poems from Michael Igoe: Effigies, Places of Inanimate Glass

Effigies

I’m not wrong                                                                                                                                   for reinventing                                                                                                                                                         even reenacting.                                                                                                                                              Although a few words                                                                                                                                          are somehow maimed                                                                                                                                                                                                 bleeding in procession.                                                                                                                                                                                   Though I feign reverence                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       I find that I seek revenge,                                                                                                                                                      for making use of a word.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Sweeping gestures                                                                                                                                                                             that never permit                                                                                                                                                                                                                    form in real time,                                                                                                                                  norms in addition.                                                                                                                                                                       The words ghosted,                                                                                                                                                                solemn and curved

Places of Inanimate Glass

The window panes                                                                                                                                              always in shatters                                                                                                                                              from kinder tears.                                                                                                                                        In continued slips                                                                                                                                                                              one laid in wait                                                                                                                                    to witness echoes.                                                                                                                                Sovereign lotteries                                                                                                                                  absolves the player                                                                                                                                                                    of  the parallel self                                                                                                                                     Any number can win,                                                                                                                                              if lonely and stripped


Bio: Michael Igoe, neurodiverse city boy, Chicago now Boston, recovery staff at Boston University Center For Psych Rehab. Many works appear in journals online and print. Recent: Spare Change News(Cambridge MA), thebluenib.com, minerallit.com. Avalanches In Poetry Anthology@amazon.com. National Library Of Poetry Editor's Choice For 1997. Twitter: MichaelIgoe5. poetryinmotion416254859.wordpress.com. Urban Realism, Surrealism. I like the Night.

New poems from Michael Igoe

Re-published poems by Michael Igoe 

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Michael Igoe